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Polish veterans

Following the German invasion and occupation of Poland in September - October 1939, a Polish Government-in-Exile was formed. This government commanded the loyalty of surviving Polish military units, and later raised additional forces. The Polish Forces were based firstly in Paris, and then when France fell, in London (under overall British command). Polish troops loyal to the Government-in-Exile (including the so-called Anders Army) fought in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Europe. The Polish forces in western Europe also included significant Air Force and Naval contingents. Members of the Polish forces who fought under Allied command are allied veterans for the purposes of the VEA.

The Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa) was a force loyal to the Polish Government-in-Exile which remained within Poland. Although the Home Army's activities were initially confined to sabotage and intelligence gathering, it did stage a major uprising (Operation Tempest), focusing on Warsaw, from 1 August - 2 October 1944. Former Home Army members who can demonstrate that they participated in Operation Tempest are to be considered allied veterans and to have rendered qualifying service. Other claims in respect of service with the Home Army should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Polish units were also raised by the Soviet Red Army. These forces (which included the so-called Berling Army) were known collectively as the Polish People's Army or Polish People's Forces (Ludowe Wojsko Polskie). The Polish People's Army should not be confused with the irregular Polish Communist Gwardia Ludowa (People's Guard) and Armia Ludowa (People's Army) forces, members of which are NOT allied veterans for the purposes of the VEA (see Section 8 of this Library).

Units of the Polish People's Army were distributed among the Red Army's system of 'Fronts' and took part in the Soviet offensives across Poland and into Germany in 1944-45. They were at all times closely integrated with Soviet forces and did not act independently of the Soviet chain of command. Therefore, the Polish People's Army is to be considered part of the defence force of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), which was an ally of Australia from 22 June 1941 until the cessation of hostilities (this date being 8 May 1945 for the European theatre). Accordingly, members of the Polish People's Army are to be considered Soviet, and therefore allied, veterans for the purposes of the VEA.